Cones are a practical, edible and portable container to hold snacks for kids. You can pour snacks such as trail mix, goldfish or animal crackers, fresh or dried fruit, mini marshmallows, popcorn or pretzels into a waffle or sugar cone. Or, when you make Rice Krispies treats, mold individual portions into cones to prevent sticky fingers. You can add pudding or yogurt, too. Not only can kids eat the cone container, but it offers good portion control, as well. Visit for a cute cone teacup idea. The first reader tip shares another cone suggestion.


My daughter only eats the insides of sandwiches, and I decided that was too wasteful. While at the grocery store, I reasoned that an ice cream cone is kind of like bread. She loved it and ate the whole thing. I wonder what else I can put in a cone ... green beans, perhaps? -- Katy, Midwest


I buy items at yard sales and thrift stores at a fraction of what they would cost new. I never buy worn or damaged; the items must look like new. I give these as gifts that are good quality and usable, rather than the trinkets that we are quick to discard. For my annual school reunion, I'm up to about 130 gifts, with costs from 50 cents to $3 each. For Christmas gift exchanges, groups often set a spending limit. Yard sale gifts are perfect for this purpose. -- Brenda C., email


I always freeze my baked goods immediately after they cool. You can pull them out and reheat them or just allow them to come to room temperature before consuming, and they will taste fresh! I worked in the food industry for more than three years. The professionals do it this way, even for wedding cakes. Just make sure the foods are fully cooled so you don't get condensation in your containers or baggies, which will make them soggy and, if you leave them out, will cause them to mold faster. If a baked good has been left out of the freezer, I toss it on the third day. Even if you can't see mold, rot is occurring. Gross, but true. -- Constance, New Jersey


This is a "from scratch" recipe for sweetened condensed milk. It's so easy, I may never buy a can again. This recipe makes the equivalent of one 14-ounce can:

1 cup instant non-fat powdered milk
1/3 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons melted margarine or butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
splash of vanilla (optional)
pinch of salt (optional)

Boil water, either directly on the stovetop or by using a tea kettle. Blend all ingredients together in a heat-safe bowl using either a wire whisk or a blender.
It will have a thinner consistency than the canned stuff, but if you let it sit or refrigerate it, I find it thickens up. It should last a few weeks in the fridge. -- Libby, Canada

photo by starmama